The Federal Court has added US peer-to-peer giant Altnet to the list of defendants in the Australian record industry's copyright case against KaZaA owner Sharman Networks.
In a directions hearing on Tuesday, Justice Wilcox added Altnet, along with its joint venture partners, as respondents to the Australian music industry's action. The joint venture partners are US company Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc., its chief executive Kevin Bermeister, and chief technology officer Anthony Rose, as well as Australian subsidiary Brilliant Digital Entertainment Pty Ltd.
In February, Music Industry Piracy Investigations raided the premises of Bermeister and Brilliant Digital's Australian subsidiary, along with those of Sharman Networks and its owners, under a court order. Investigators then 'bit-stream imaged' computer data at these premises, including data not relevant to the case.
Justice Wilcox said in Tuesday's hearing that his main concern was that all irrelevant material be given back. He ordered the owners to sort out the material according to the court orders.
This will be done in the presence of an independent solicitor and a computer forensics expert, he said.
The material currently resides at the offices of law firm Blake Dawson Waldron, acting as the independent solicitors.
Justice Wilcox refused an application by Sharman to stay proceedings, but also denied the music industry's lawyers repeated requests to speed their access to the material.
"We will talk about the 'when' of access in May", said Justice Wilcox. The next court hearing is scheduled for 14 May.
However, lawyers for Sharman said they would seek a stay of further access to the material and will prepare an application for leave to appeal.
Justice Wilcox also ordered the respondents to provide a CD-ROM of their documents used in the Sharman suit in the US to the music industry by 30 March.